Psychological Counselor Afet Kalavasonlu
All the parents are struggling to balance child care and self-care while keeping worries — both your children’s and your own — under control these days. Here are some tips for families to deal with their worries and give information’s to increase their family time.
Firstly we have to talk our kids about the situation.
Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus
News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the social media. Many parents are wondering how to bring up the epidemic in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information.
- Don’t give too much information. Don’t volunteer too much information and try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the coronavirus, and how they feel.
- Deal with your own anxiety. If you feel anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. Please remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom.
- Stick to routine. This issue is particularly important when your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
- Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more.
What to Do (and Not Do) When Children Are Anxious
- Many parents do not want a child to suffer especially when children are anxious. It happens when parents, anticipating a child’s fears, try to protect her from them. Here are pointers for helping children escape the cycle of anxiety.
- The goal isn’t to eliminate anxiety, but to help a child manage it. None of us wants to see a child unhappy, but the best way to help kids overcome anxiety isn’t to try to remove stressors that trigger it. It’s to help them learn to tolerate their anxiety and function as well as they can, even when they’re anxious.
- Don’t avoid things just because they make a child anxious. Helping children avoid the things they are afraid of will make them feel better in the short term, but it reinforces the anxiety over the long run.
- Express positive—but realistic—expectations. You can’t promise a child that his fears are unrealistic. You can express confidence that he’s going to be okay, he will be able to manage it, and that, as he faces his fears, the anxiety level will drop over time. This gives him confidence that your expectations are realistic, and that you’re not going to ask him to do something he can’t handle.
- Respect her feelings. It’s important to understand that validation doesn’t always mean agreement. The message you want to send is, “I know you’re scared, and that’s okay, and I’m here, and I’m going to help you get through this.”
- Encourage the child to tolerate her anxiety. Let your child know that you appreciate the work it takes to tolerate anxiety in order to do what he wants or needs to do. It’s really encouraging him to engage in life and to let the anxiety take its natural curve.
- Try to model healthy ways of handling anxiety. There are multiple ways you can help kids handle anxiety by letting them see how you cope with anxiety yourself. Kids are perceptive, and they’re going to take it in if you keep complaining on the phone to a friend that you can’t handle the stress or the anxiety